1851-C $1 Gold PCGS MS63
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In the end, three types of $1 Gold pieces were minted in the United States, produced at the Philadelphia, Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans Mints.
They were first suggested by Alexander Hamilton in 1791 but didn't really get serious attention until the Southern Gold Rush made them a much bigger priority. Gold was discovered in North Carolina in 1799, although the finder did not realize what he had until 1802. Georgia became another gold mining center in 1828. A confluence of events led to the private minting of 1-dollar gold pieces. A German immigrant, Alt Christoph Bechtler, came to America in 1829. In 1830 he moved to Rutherfordton, North Carolina and established a jewelry shop. Gold, in the form of nuggets and dust, was the accepted medium of exchange in the area due to the large amounts of gold being found, and a shortage of any coinage. Bechtler, seeing a business opportunity, offered to refine raw gold and turn it into gold coins for a small fee. Many took advantage of the service and by 1840 Bechtler had more than 2 million dollars’ worth of gold coins, about half being 1-dollar pieces. Bechtler coins were held in such high regard that many contracts signed in the South stipulated payment be made only with Bechtler gold coins. For many years after the Civil War Bechtler gold coins were the only gold coins most Southerners ever encountered.
As the government encountered more and more Bechtler coins, the push to create an "official" $1 gold coin was apparent. Mint Director Robert Patterson strongly objected to a $1 gold piece, however, because he believed that counterfeits would be simple to create. Ultimately, the economy forced the Mint's hand, as the "Hard Times" meant people were hoarding gold and virtually no coins were in circulation. Adding to the urgency, the California Gold Rush was in full swing at this point, meaning something had to be done with all the gold being discovered. Finally, in 1849, Congress authorized the $1 gold coin and a $20 gold coin.
This coin is the first version available, minted from 1849-1854. The obverse of this coin is quite simple, with Liberty facing left surrounded by 13 stars. Her coronet is incused with LIBERTY. The reverse has the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at the edge. Within a laurel wreath are the date and denomination. The mint mark is located below the wreath. It was minted in Charlotte.